New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay was scratched from Tuesday's lineup against Washington because of discomfort in his rib cage, and the team acknowledged there was a chance he would start the season on the disabled list.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Bay appeared to have a strained muscle. He did not play Saturday because of a stiff back and was set to return to the field Monday, but the game was rained out.
Alderson said the team did not think the rib cage and back ailments were related.
"But he hasn't been examined yet by an orthopedist," Alderson said.
Bay planned to return to the Mets' spring training base in Port St. Lucie to be checked Tuesday afternoon. The Mets have until 11 a.m. Thursday to make a roster move if he needs to go on the DL.
"It's a possibility, of course, this late in spring, but we'll wait and see what happens and keep following it the next couple days until we get a feel for what it actually is and how it's progressing," Alderson said. "We'll probably have a move or two we won't make until the very end."
Bay missed the final two months last season because of a concussion. The Mets still aren't sure what they can expect from their other All-Star outfielder, Carlos Beltran, as he recovers from tendinitis in his left knee.
Bay was replaced in Tuesday's lineup against Washington by Lucas Duda.
Also, backup catcher Ronny Paulino is sidelined by problems with his stomach and colon. He was shut down Saturday because of irregularities that came up in his routine blood work and underwent another diagnostic procedure Monday.
The club is waiting on more test results due back by the end of the week before the severity can be determined.
"It does appear there are stomach and colon issues that will keep him out for a while, and we don't know the extent of either of those, but we do think it will keep him out for a while based on the medication he'll have to take," Alderson said.
Paulino is suspended through the first eight games of the season anyway as he finishes out a 50-game suspension from last year, related to use of performance-enhancing drugs. Mike Nickeas will serve as Josh Thole's backup until Paulino returns.
The Mets have nearly rounded out their opening day roster, with some room for changes if Bay needs to go on the disabled list.
Alderson announced Tuesday that Blaine Boyer has earned the final bullpen spot, and the Mets have asked 38-year-old reliever Jason Isringhausen to stay behind in extended spring training for a couple of weeks. Pitcher Manny Acosta has been designated for assignment.
Versatile infielder-outfielder Willie Harris, who had an out in his minor league contract Sunday, will be officially added to the roster Tuesday, as well.
Isringhausen hasn't told the Mets whether or not he will accept the assignment to extended spring training. He originally said if he did not make the club he would retire or go home and see if another opportunity arises elsewhere.
"I think it was durability, No. 1, in the sense of being able to pitch back-to-back and frequently over periods of days," Alderson said. "And the second was just long-term durability and how he'll hold up. Right now it's being able to pitch routinely, consistently."
Alderson said he would let Isringhausen go if in the next week another club says it has a spot for him on its roster. He is not guaranteed to make the Mets' roster after his time in extended spring training.
"There's always going to be injury risk with Jason, but the next two weeks will tell us a little more about his velocity, a little more how he bounces back at the end of the day and a little bit more about our own situation in New York with the bullpen," Alderson said.